DESTA Mental Health & Personal Development Program
DESTA provides free individual counselling for youth who need psychological and emotional support. Using an empowerment approach, our counselling sessions center on helping youth to acquire healthy coping strategies, to gain more confidence, and to develop positive interpersonal relationships.
Through our advocacy, our referral and accompaniment services, youth receive support in navigating an often intimidating and confusing institutional system. We connect participants to other trusted mental health professionals and organizations, and to competent social service providers. Through these services, many of our participants have gained access to other mental health services outside of our scope of work, such as housing, legal-aid, and employment.
DESTA hosts several support groups for various needs including: Brother 2 Brother – for young Black Men; Sista Sista – for young Black women.
Recognizing that good nutrition and physical health is strongly associated with improved mental health, DESTA offers a range of activities and events that promote overall wellness. Yoga classes, aerobics and nutrition workshops have been offered. Through our partnership with Concordia University, DESTA youth receive free membership at Le Gym which gives them full access to Concordia’s gym facilities. We also organize an annual Health and Wellness Day for our community, where we invite health care providers to host workshops, share information, and raise awareness about other health services in Montreal.
To address the social isolation that is often associated with people experiencing mental health challenges, DESTA organizes social activities for youth and the broader community. Our social events include discussion groups, BBQs, Open Mic Nights, Movie Nights, guest speaker events and group outings. Organized regularly, these events help to promote social inclusion, foster positive peer relationships, and increase community and civic engagement among our youth participants.